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Always Another Country (Sisonke Msimang, Text)

A coming-of-age memoir brimming with no-holds-barred honesty, Always Another Country is a story about love, survival, politics and home. Sisonke Msimang charts various stages of her life, observing her surroundings and rich inner world through a lens that is intelligent and multi-layered. The daughter of South African freedom fighters, she spends her developing years in flux: stateless and in exile as a child in Zambia, adolescence in Canada and young adulthood in the United States. She returns to South Africa for the first time when it is finally free, only to feel loss and disillusionment as a stranger in her native home. Starting afresh is a constant theme throughout the book—Msimang’s account of her movement and migration frequently explores the question of whether home is a concept or a place. With razor-sharp insight, Msimang writes in a reflective tone that contains with both heartbreak and humour, as she navigates some often-overlooked complexities surrounding race, womanhood and class. An excellent blend of both the personal and political, Always Another Country is a bold memoir not unlike Maxine Hong-Kingston’s The Woman Warrior or Daisy Hernandez’s A Cup of Water under My Bed—a tale that will sustain itself for generations.

Cher Tan is a writer in Adelaide


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